Franklin Co.: Gun Bill Would Hurt Efforts to Curb Meth, Heroin, Lead to Shorter Sentences

See also: Jon Alexander, Missouri Liquor Store Clerk, Veteran, Pulls Gun on Armed Robber (VIDEO)

Some supporters of the legislation argue that Missouri should just enforce state laws and not (potentially unconstitutional) federal ones, but Toelke points out that "there are a lot of federal laws that aren't included in state statute that give us some leverage in what we can do."


"I think the legislature didn't realize," he continues. "[that] the bill maybe looks good to some, but it's when you get out in the field...that you start to see the problems."

The law, he argues, would also "open the floodgates" for lawsuits against police. And until case law is established in this uncharted territory, it'll be very problematic.

"It's just going to subject us to unnecessary lawsuits," he says.

Federal officers would be wary about doing their job when local sheriffs seek their assistance, he adds. "They are not going to want to take the chance."

Gov. Jay Nixon.

"Our local federal agents have really been great to us," he says. "They've always been here to help when we need them."

Last week, in one of several somewhat surprising announcements of opposition, the Missouri Sheriffs' Association urged lawmakers not to override the veto.

That statement, which Toelke provided to us, says that some of the language of the bill "violates the sheriff's oath of office" and carries "unintended consequences."

Here's the full statement.

2013-09-09 Sheriff's Association

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John L. Williams
John L. Williams

If they aren't using the gun, but merely have it in their possession how could they tack on extra charges? For example...a heroin addict that obtained the gun legally and has a conceal and carry permit and gets pulled over. Cops find out he has heroin on him and he admits to having the gun and his C&C. How could merely having the gun tack on extra charges?

Amanda Flower
Amanda Flower

And rightfully so. A person with a gun can be dangerous enough. A person with a gun high on heroin is a toxic combination and they should be punished with a longer prison term.

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson

Nope, but neither is the cop quoted in the story. Just going by what he says "he says, if a large shipment of heroin arrives in Franklin County and the dealers used firearms in the process, prosecutors could be blocked from using this fact in pushing for a harsher punishment from a judge." He used a drug dealer as example for impact, but if any heroin users (who may have a gun for protection) gets popped, it would seem he likes to add that charge to sentencing for longer prison terms.

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